Why the cities of the future belong to the millennial generation

3/05/2013

Big-city dwellers, get used to this scenario: One thousand people, mostly in their 20s, crowded in a gritty parking lot behind Honest Ed’s in downtown Toronto. They were gathered to support an anti-poverty, anti-hunger fundraiser organized by the west-end community advocate The Stop and to taste culinary delights steeped in foodie irony – BBQ pig tail served from a round, pig-shaped cart and snow cones served from a mound of slowly melting dry ice. The food trucks were not your hygienic factory-made variety endorsed by the City of Toronto. They were created by Toronto’s sophisticated millennials, an urban class that values cultural fusion and originality. Naturally, the Brothers Dressler had designed a sweet hybrid: a recycled wood cart supported on a bicycle-wheel chassis with offerings of “son-in-law” eggs laced with chili jam.

It’s no wonder The Stop’s Night Market, which sold out fast last summer, is doubling to two nights this summer. It’s exactly what the millennial generation in Big City Canada craves.

Expanded sidewalks, not expanded art galleries, are what appeal to millennials and what civic leaders should be obsessing over. Art needs to come out of the neat confines of the institution and bleed into the streets so that it can be experienced like a chance operation. They’re well-educated and well-travelled, so public space that hints at the low-lit night markets of Bangkok will resonate with this crowd. Want to communicate the Impressionists? Project images of Monet’s Water Lilies on the sides of garbage dumpsters.

Continue reading this article by Lisa Rochon at the Globe and Mail.

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